FOUR traders and a former government official are on trial in Zhejiang in connection with China's biggest embezzlement of public funds to buy shares.
The trial opened in Jiaxing city on Wednesday. The five are accused of misusing 189 million yuan (about HK$176.15 million) to speculate in shares between December 1992 and November last year. They lost seven million yuan.
The traders are Jiaxing Trust and Investment securities trading manager Li Weimin, deputy manager Shen Jaizeng, computer operator Ye Ligen and junior employee Shou Xuejin.
The government official is Wang Jianrong, a senior cadre in the Jiaxing Federation of Trade Unions.
The Securities Shanghai News said the five had used 13 accounts to buy shares without approval or filling out the appropriate forms.
All except Ye were charged with corruption after failing to return the money they had embezzled.
The case came to light last November.
Because of the sum involved, Jiaxing police formed a special unit to investigate.
Investigations were completed in April and the four were charged in July.
The Jiaxing Intermediate People's Court is expected to give a verdict after the hearing ends today.
Shanghai has seen a sharp rise in economic crimes, primarily because it is the country's financial and economic centre and has attracted a number of provincial brokerages.
In the first six months of the year, it dealt with 98 such cases, 19 more than the same period last year.
Last year, there were 163 cases involving 303 million yuan.
Those involved in the crimes were mostly under 30 years of age.